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Wednesday, May 2, 2018

If He Wakes by Zoe Lea - Book Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

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Review by Suze

Rachel thinks her husband is having an affair. She found a twitter message with a meeting point and time. She decides to follow him, but when she's there she doesn't see her husband with another woman. She witnesses a hit and run instead. Rachel is shocked because she recognizes the car. What should she do, she can talk to him immediately or look for more information. If she confronts her husband straight away without having more proof, she might never get her answers. Will Rachel eventually find out if it was her husband behind the wheel and what he was doing there?

Rachel has just started a business with her friend Suzie. They have a party to plan and Suzie should have taken over because of Rachel's issues at home, but she has problems of her own. She finds out her bank account has been emptied and a huge amount of money has been borrowed on her name. She knew nothing about this. She suspects her fiancé and business partner can give her the answers she needs, but he's missing. Where did he go and why did he borrow so much money? Will Suzie be able to find out the truth?

If He Wakes is a gripping story about two friends whose partners are keeping something from them. I was immediately curious to find out what they were hiding. Zoe Lea kept me glued to the pages from the beginning and I read If He Wakes in one sitting. Rachel's life appears to be perfect, but her world is about to be shattered. I was anxious to find out if she'd be able to handle this or not. While Suzie would normally support her she's dealing with something huge. She has no money left, while a loan shark is asking for payment and she has no idea where her fiancé is and what he's done with all of their money. Even though she's desperate and scared Suzie starts looking for the truth, which I found incredibly admirable. The two main characters of If He Wakes are both interesting women, which makes the story very fascinating.

Zoe Lea has written a terrific shocking book. She carefully divides her tension and the result is a fantastic spine-chilling, surprising and suspenseful story. The large number of unexpected twists and turns makes If He Wakes a compelling read. I went through a rollercoaster of emotions while reading this fabulous story, which is something I absolutely loved. Zoe Lea kept me on the edge of my seat with her amazing descriptions. I highly recommend this moving and mesmerizing book.


If you like gripping thrillers filled with family secrets you should definitely read If He Wakes.

About Zoe Lea

Zoe Lea lives in the Lake District with her husband, their two children, three dogs and peregrine falcons.

She has previously worked as a teacher, photographer and freelance journalist and is a writer in the day and a reader by night.

If He Wakes is her debut novel.


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5 things I wish I knew before starting to write my book
Guest post by Zoe Lea

1) It will take over your life

Before I even thought about writing a novel, I wrote short stories. I liked the efficiency of short story writing, if I put my mind to it, I could have it done and dusted within a week. And if I took part in a ‘flash fiction’ exercise it was all over in an evening. There was the prompt, a couple of hours of writing and, ta-da! There’s your finished piece. It might not be any good, probably not publishable, but it was a completed piece of work nonetheless. Writing a novel is nothing like that. Nothing. Even just finishing a terrible first draft of a novel is painfully hard and it takes forever. The stamina, the determination and tenacity you need are huge. However, once I’d started, I never knew just how obsessive I would become about it. I would be itching to get back to If He Wakes at any given opportunity. So not only will it take forever but get the right idea and it will take over your life. Be prepared.

2) Write what you read

Before I started to write If He Wakes, I had a go at writing young adult books. I started writing when I was a teenager, and those were the books I was reading at the time. The problem was, I carried on writing those types of books long after I’d finished reading them. I used to wonder why I wasn’t enamoured by my book, why I wasn’t falling in love with it, why I wasn’t enjoying writing it and then I realised – I didn’t like it what I was writing. I didn’t read young adult books, I read crime and thrillers, so what made me think I’d enjoy writing one? Look at your book shelves, your kindle, what are the three books on there that you’ve enjoyed the most? Write one of those.

3) Show your work

When I first started writing I was part of a writing group where we’d share work and give feedback. It was brilliant in those early stages to be able to share my enthusiasm with like-minded people and it gave me confidence in pursuing my dream of becoming a published writer. And I’m delighted to say that nearly all of us from that group are now published. When I had the initial idea for If He Wakes, I applied and got a place on the Curtis Brown Creative course and the feedback from the people on that course was invaluable. If you can, find kindred spirits to share your work with. Writing is a hard and solitary sport but having a group around you for moral support is incredibly valuable.

4) The first draft is not the book

Be prepared to write, then edit, then rewrite, then edit, then rewrite some more. Learn to take criticism and not be offended by it. Remember that everyone’s opinion of your work is subjective, but it’s still an opinion and it’s still valuable. Every new draft you do will make your novel stronger, better and tighter and that’s ultimately what you want – the strongest possible novel that you can deliver.

5) Enjoy it

Writing is hard and it can be painful but you have to remember that no one is pointing a gun at your head threatening to kill you if you don’t get the words down. Enjoy it. It’s your world, your characters and your story line. Write firstly to amuse yourself before anything else. Get excited about your book and write with your imagination running wildly free. Even when you can only get a few words down, when you feel like everything you’ve done is utter rubbish, keep at it and more importantly, keep enjoying it.


Three very lucky readers of With Love for Books will receive a digital copy of If He Wakes by Zoe Lea.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.


  1. Sounds intriguing with hiding secrets. Very inspiring author. Wonderful post

  2. If He Wakes sounds like an absorbing, dramatic story with enough twists and turns to keep you guessing in this tense psychological thriller.

  3. I love stories with secrets :)

  4. Very intriguing - would love to read!

  5. This book sounds amazing. I'm looking forward to reading this book.

  6. This sounds like just my cup of tea!

  7. This book sounds right up my street! Definitely adding it to the must read list :)

  8. Sound like story i would usually like to read. Good luck for the book and thanks for the review

  9. Sounds a terrific read of friends in turmoil. Will be very interesting to see what happens and how they cope.

  10. This sounds great. I love a book with hidden secrets and twists.

  11. Sounds great. Love secrets.

  12. Great tips in this guest post for others who have the ambition and desire to become published writers. Writing a book certainly sounds like an awful lot of hard work but the reward is at the end of the trail.